Seeing mountain gorillas

By | Category: Travel destinations
Uganda gorillas

How about visiting Uganda and seeing the gorillas in Bindi? Or would you prefer Rwanda or the DRC?

On the bucket list of many people would be a trip to see the mountain gorillas of Africa. The decision would be whether to visit Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or Uganda.

That decision may have become a lot easier because the government in Rwanda has increased the price for a gorilla permit from $750 to $1,500. In comparison the permit fee charged by the Ugandan government is $600. In the DRC, the price is $400 but political instabilitythere has only recently calmed in the last few years for tour operators to actively promote tours to the Virunga National Park where the gorillas can be seen.

The Ugandan authorities pledged in a meeting in London yesterday to maintain the existing fee for at least the next twelve months. Andrew Seguya, of the Uganda Wildlife Authority said, “Gorillas are one of the world’s most valuable natural resources and their conservation is at the forefront of all of UWA’s decisions. Allowing global travellers the opportunity to fulfil lifelong dreams to see these animals is key to their conservation.”

It is calculated that the number of mountain gorillas in Africa is about 900 with probably 500 or so in Uganda and the remaining 400 split between Rwanda and the DRC.

All three countries use a portion of the costs people pay for gorilla conservation.

Rwanda ‘s increase in prices suggests that they think that if a person wants to see gorillas in the wild they will pay whatever it takes. Does seeing gorillas in Rwanda side differ from view them in Uganda or DRC? Probably not. Only time will tell if that is true but, with a neighbouring country issuing permits at less than half the price, tour operators will naturally opt to offer tours at a price that they think their customers will be prepared to pay. Does seeing gorillas in Rwanda side differ from view them in Uganda or DRC? Unlikely so tour operators will opt to offer the more easily accessible, the more economic and the safest.

Apparently Rwanda will also charge its own residents the same fee which, given the average wage in the country, probably means that few Rwandans will get the chance to see gorillas either.   Uganda was at pains to point out that they offer heavily discounted fees to their residents.

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